The Epson Expression Premium XP-7100 ($199.99) is an entry- to mid-level all-in-one inkjet printer designed for family or home-based office use. It prints exceptionally well, especially photos, and it comes with an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for printing, copying, and scanning two-sided documents without user intervention. Those perks and a few other noteworthy features elevate the XP-7100 to an Editors’ Choice.
Mighty and Small
Measuring 8.1 by 23.5 by 17.2 inches (HWD), and weighing 21.5 pounds, this “Small-in-One” is notably bigger and heavier than its Expression Premium XP-6000 sibling, but then the XP-7100 comes with a 30-page single-pass ADF for making two-sided copies and scans without your having to flip the originals manually. The XP-6000 and the Canon Pixma TS9120, also a competing inkjet AIO, do not have ADFs.
Closer in size to the XP-7100 is Brother’s MFC-J995DW ($426.49 at Amazon) . More of an office-oriented AIO than a consumer-grade photo-centric model like the XP-7100, it also comes with an ADF, but it holds only 20 pages, and it’s not auto-duplexing.
The XP-7100 has five inks; in addition to the four CMYK cartridges, you also get a “photo black” ink that enhances the blacks in your images (and some text), making them darker and deeper, especially on coated premium photo paper. Canon’s TS9120 ($839.34 at Amazon) , as well as several other Pixmas, including the relatively new wide-format models, the Editors’ Choice TS9520 ($279.99 at Amazon) and the crafters-oriented TS9521C, use six inks. Typically, the more colors, the wider the machine’s color gamut and the greater the overall detail. (I’ll touch on output quality momentarily.)
As for paper handling, the XP-7100 holds up to 120 sheets, split between a 100-sheet main cassette and a 20-sheet photo paper insert inside of that, as shown below.
This paper allotment is smaller than many of the competing models here, but not surprising for a printer in this price range. Epson doesn’t publish volume specs for its consumer-grade printers anymore, but typically a machine with this paper capacity and speed rating has a maximum duty cycle of 1,000 to 2,000 pages, with a significantly smaller recommended monthly print volume of a few hundred pages.
The XP-7100 has one feature that’s more common to the higher-end machines in this genre: The ability to print labels on pre-surfaced CDs and DVDs via a small caddy that slips in just above the output tray. There’s also software for designing labels and jewel case inserts in the software bundle.
Configuration and walk-up functions, such as making copies, printing from and scanning to the cloud, and much more, are handled from a comfortably large 4.3-inch touch screen that comprises the entire control panel. The only physical button on this AIO is a power toggle to the left of the display, shown below.
Connectivity and Software Abound
No matter what type of computing device you use, you should find multiple options for connecting to the XP-7100, starting with the basic wireless (Wi-Fi) and wired (Ethernet) network interfaces, as well as connecting to a single PC via USB 2.0. You also get Wi-Fi Direct for making router-less peer-to-peer network connections to your mobile devices, and a collection of other useful mobile options. Included in the Epson Connect suite are Epson Email Print, Epson Remote Print, Epson Scan to Cloud, Epson iPrint App, Epson Print and Scan App, and Creative Print App.
Third-party mobile solutions include Apple AirPrint, Fire OS, Google Cloud Print, and Mopria. And finally, you can always print from or scan to USB thumb drives or SD cards via the slots located on the lower-left front of the chassis, shown below.
In addition to the mobile apps listed in the previous paragraph, the XP-7100’s software bundle includes Epson Easy Photo Scan, Epson Print CD (for designing and printing labels on CDs/DVDs and jewel case inserts), Epson Scan for scanning text and converting it to a useable format, and a PDF version of the user guide.
Keeping Up With the Pack
Epson rates the XP-7100 at 15.8 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome pages and 11ppm for color pages. I tested it over Ethernet from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. The XP-7100 printed our 12-page Microsoft Word text document at the rate of 15ppm, or just shy of its 15.8ppm rating. That’s 1.3ppm faster than its XP-6000 sibling, 1.6ppm ahead of the similarly rated Canon TS9520, and 1.8ppm quicker than the TS9120. Brother’s lower-rated MFP-J995DW came in 4.5ppm slower than the XP-7100.
See How We Test Printers
Next, I printed several full-color Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint business documents containing charts, graphs, and other business graphics and embedded photos. Then, I combined the results from these tests with those from printing the 12-page text document to come up with a comprehensive score for printing our full suite of test documents. Here, the XP-7100 managed 6.3ppm, which is, once again, only slightly faster than its lower-end sibling. Canon’s two top-of-the-line AIOs, the TS9120 and the TS9520, on the other hand, both fell 1.6ppm behind the XP-7100. However, at 7.7ppm, Brother’s MFC-J995DW managed to leap ahead of the other AIOs.
Next up, I timed how fast the XP-7100 printed our colorful and heavily detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots. Canon rates this model at 12 seconds to print an image this size, but my score, with output quality set to Best and borderless finishing, was 25 seconds, or double the rating. Even so, 25 seconds is impressive. The XP-6000, for instance, printed the same images at an average of 2 seconds faster; while the Canon TS9120 took 7 seconds longer. The TS9520 and the TS9521C both came in 2 seconds faster, and the Brother MFC-J995DW tied the TS9120 in bringing up the rear.
When Output Quality Counts
Epson’s Small-in-One product line traditionally prints well, with dark and crisp, easy-to-read text at all but the tiniest point sizes. Graphics, too, come out accurately drawn and colored, with minimal reproduction defects. With the XP-7100, I saw some nearly imperceptible banding in a couple dark backgrounds and fills, but only the kind of thing you’d notice when looking for flaws. Otherwise, graphics and text quality are beyond what you’d need for most home and family applications—even those that require printed material designed to impress.
Most of the buyers of this machine and its competition, though, want to print good-looking, keeper photographs for preserving and distributing memories and family milestones. Like most other Epson five- and six-ink Expression Premium and Expression Photo models I’ve reviewed, this one churns out above-average bright and vibrant images with accurate colors and respectable detail.
Low-Volume Running Costs
Before analyzing the XP-7100’s cost per page (CPP), it’s important to point out that due to this (and any other) printer’s fifth ink, it’s difficult (and in some conditions impossible) to come up with a precise per-page cost, especially for documents containing embedded photos or printed on glossy paper. Why? Because there’s no way to know when that fifth ink deploys and, when it does, how much ink is used. With that in mind, the figures in the next paragraph do not include the additional cost of the photo black ink.
Compared with several competing home and family AIOs I’ve tested recently, the XP-7100’s costs of 13.7 cents for color pages and 5 cents per monochrome page aren’t terrible. Canon’s six-ink TS9000 series models are, especially for color pages, even higher (though the two additional inks those AIOs use make calculating their running costs even less precise). Traditionally, consumer-grade photo printers like these cost a lot to use, which is why I always recommend them only for low-volume print and copy environments.
If you’re going to print in higher volumes, you should look to a printer that uses a bulk-ink or subscription model. Epson’s own Expression Premium ET-7700 delivers color and monochrome pages for about 1 cent each. Brother has several lower-end INKvestment Tank machines, just as HP has a few of its four-ink Instant-Ink-ready Envy Photo AIOs, including the Envy Photo 7855, which is close in price and features to the XP-7100. Keep in mind, though, you’re going to pay more up front to save in the long term with the Epson and Brother models. For more on how to save money on ink, check out our primer.
Looking Beyond Output Quality
If output quality is your primary concern, these days throwing a dart at a list of five- and six-ink AIOs would most likely hit a winner. The print quality differences are minute enough to allow you to concentrate on productivity and convenience features. In this price range, the XP-7100’s auto-duplexing ADF is enough to make it stand out. It also offers superior document-duplicating and scanning options, support for thumb drives, and a few other handy productivity functions, making it our Editors’ Choice family and home-office AIO.